Stay Safe With These Simple Winter Driving Tips

Image of cars driving down snow covered highway

From new drivers to seasoned ones, everyone can use a refresher when it comes to winter driving. Our winter is just about to kick-off, with that comes the snow piles and below zero conditions. Depending on where you are in Canada, your province will have its own set of laws pertaining to winter driving regulations, including the requirement of winter tires. However, no matter where you’re situated, we want to make sure you’re prepared for the transition between fall to winter driving.

While conditions differ greatly between Canadian provinces, from the blustery Maritimes to the icy Vancouver areas, these tips will keep you safe and calm while navigating our snow-covered roads:

1.    Keep Calm and Drive On

When driving down snow-covered, icy roads, avoid hard brakes and aggressive accelerations. This is especially important when turning corners or coming to a stop and start. Drive with ease to prevent skidding and sliding around the road.

If your tires meet slippery roads and you start to skid, it’s crucial you stay composed to regain control of your vehicle. For starters, avoid slamming on the brakes if you come across snowy, icy roads. Rather, pump the brakes to help your car come to a stop without swerving out of control. Since modern cars are built with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), rapidly pumping the brakes brings your car to a quick stop.

For cars with a standard transmission, downshift the gears rather than slam the brakes. This can help slow your vehicle down and is especially handy if driving down a slope. Furthermore, to avoid skidding, don’t feather the clutch as you release it.

2.    Clear Your Car

Driving with piles of ice and snow on your car greatly decreases your visibility and safety. While you’re heating up your engine, take a moment to brush off your windshields, windows, head/ taillights, and the hood of your car.

If you have a significant amount of snow piled on your roof or in the bed of your truck, this could blow off your vehicle and interfere with visibility. As a courtesy to yourself and other drivers, clear as much snow as you can from your vehicle. In fact, failing to clear heavy snow off your car is a finable offence in some provinces.

3.    Maintain a Safe Distance

When driving in the winter you should take your time. Rush or not, that gained 5 minutes is never worth compromising your safety. One of the biggest hazards when driving in snowy conditions is sharing the road with inexperienced winter drivers. Therefore, it’s crucial you keep a safe distance between your vehicle and those around you. If another driver loses control of their vehicle, you’ll have more time to respond and navigate safely with greater distance. Keep your speed down and maintain at least 5 seconds of distance between you and the driver ahead of you. And if other drivers choose to tailgate you, persist with your slow, safe speeds, and let them pass.

4.    Avoid Driving in Freezing Rain

If you’ve driven through wet, freezing conditions, you know what a headache it can be. Rain in freezing temperatures leads to slick roads and black ice. While best avoided, some Canadian cities regularly experience freezing rain, making it inevitable. If you’re one of those unlucky drivers, proceed with extreme caution and abide by the following:

  • Leave early. There’s nothing more dangerous than speeding in these conditions. Therefore, leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. If you end up leaving later than planned, don’t sweat it. Drive at slower than normal speeds, leaving plenty of space between you and other drivers.
  • Keep an eye out for maintenance vehicles. From snowplows to salt trucks, there may be vehicles salting and sanding the road for your safety. If you’re sharing the road with a maintenance vehicle, try to drive behind them rather than beside them. This way, you’re getting the benefits of their hard work while avoid the blowback.
  • Avoid aggressive driving. Go easy on the braking and accelerating. If you slam the brakes on a slab of black ice, you may lose complete control of your vehicle. Remember to pump the brakes and steer your wheel in the direction you want to go.
  • Pay attention. While distracted driving is never okay, it’s especially dangerous in freezing conditions. When driving in the winter you should always stay focused and alert.

5.    Make Sure Your Car is Well-Maintained

Abiding by the winter driving tips above can go a long way in keeping you and your vehicle safe this season. However, winter brings about wet and salty conditions, all of which can wreak havoc on your auto body. When looking for a top-tier auto body shop in Vancouver, our team at Super Euro Autobody have the facilities, equipment, and expertise to provide high quality auto body repair. From car painting to full collision repair, our certified technicians are highly skilled and ready to work. Contact us today!

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